It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The Romantic Homes November issue inspires your creativity with recipes, DIYs and décor that captures the magic of the holiday season. Take cues for opulent, classical Christmas décor from Carolyne Roehm, learn how to bake and display gingerbread creations with Marian Parsons, explore Rachel Ashwell's soft and sweet color palettes and tour Janice Marrow's flower-filled festive abode. A sweet bonus? She shares her recipe for German Gingerbread Cake!
Also: Joann Coletti's Project Refresh continues with a carriage house transformed into a practical and beautiful studio space. Step inside Liz Fourez's neutral and natural holiday farmhouse where meaningful décor creates Christmas magic to charm the whole family and escape to Bianca Planner's winter wonderland home filled with Old World charm and meaningful memories.
Amid the green sloping scenery of Roland, Arkansas, sits P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm. Seeing the Greek revival farmhouse three stories high, visitors will feel instantly transported to the 1840s.
“The farm sits on 600 acres with sweeping vistas of the Arkansas River,” says Smith. Upon arrival, guests enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride up to the main house and witness the breathtaking beauty of the Arkansas River along the way.
Although the farm serves as a home for Smith, a conservationist, television host and garden expert, it also hosts weddings, lunch tours and holiday events. During the lunch tours, guests can rub elbows sitting at a long wooden table and enjoy the Christmas meals like one big happy family.
“Holiday lunch tours are especially popular leading up to Christmas,” says Smith. “Guests will see the home and grounds all decked out for the holidays. We bring in fresh greenery from the farm to use in garlands and other décor throughout the house,”
Lanterns with red ribbons light the exterior, while Christmas bulbs intertwined with garlands give the farm a warm, holiday glow. At Christmas, Smith says, “we transform the iconic Pumpkin House at Moss Mountain Farm into a Gingerbread House.”
Row after row of orderly grapevines contour the rolling hills of the secluded Temecula Valley Wine Country. Nestled on a hill and guarded by high hedges rests Briar Rose Winery. It is unique among the other nearby notable wineries, as it owes its architectural heritage to the creative vision of one of Disneyland’s original Imagineers.
Labor of Love
Inspired by his wife’s fondness for the Snow White fairytale, Fantasyland architect Beldon Fields constructed the cottage and its surrounding structures five decades ago as a gift to her—a country retreat away from the hustle of city life. With the estate’s deceptively ingenious cement “thatch” roofing and lush landscaping, entering the front garden through the high hedges is like stepping into the illustrated pages of a story by the Brothers Grimm.
When Les and Dorian Linkogle purchased the property in the 1980s, the couple promised Fields that they would preserve the cottage’s charm for years to come. Since then, Briar Rose has evolved from a family home into a boutique winery that welcomes local wine lovers—among whom the winery has achieved a cult status following—and international guests alike to savor award-winning wines and the charming atmosphere.
Building Dreams out of Dirt
Entering the wine business was almost an afterthought for the Linkogles. They planted grapes to offset the cost of watering their son’s dirt motocross track and sold the produce to the nearby wineries until a friend convinced them it would be more rewarding and “easy” enough for them to produce their own wine. “It absolutely was not easy!” Dorian laughs. But she and Les have loved every minute of it, from the research process in the beginning to finally uncorking a fresh bottle for their visitors.
“So much effort and enjoyment goes into the making of fine wine,” Dorian explains. “It’s art in a bottle. When your name is on the label, it can’t be anything but the very best.” The owners’ dedication to an excellent product and intimate hospitality carries over to the winery’s staff, who are ready and willing to discuss each award winning wine with those who come by for a tasting.
Guests have the option of enjoying their beverages in the cottage’s tasting room or taking their glasses outside to the weathered wood benches which are shaded by an ancient olive tree. Just as lovely as the garden are the views which overlook the vineyards.
Dotting the landscape, vintage farming and winemaking equipment add to the nostalgic and evocative feeling in the serene setting. “When we were thinking of what we should call this place, we knew it had to keep the fairytale element,” Dorian explains. “It’s such a sleepy little beauty hidden away up here that Les suggested we name our winery Briar Rose—after the princess—and I just love the way it fits.” At Briar Rose Winery, Dorian and Les are living the dream they worked so hard to achieve and are eager to share it with their guests.